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Char-Griller AKORN Kamado Grill/Smoker Video Reviews


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#1 John Setzler

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 04:11 PM

** Video Content Removed ***


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#2 lardog

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:59 PM

Thank you so much for posting of all those video reviews.

I had just purchased the "Big Red" version from Menard's on sale for $249 last weekend and was debating whether I should return it even before I opened the box since I already have several other grills/smokers including an offset barrel smoker which I've had for 20 years now. Both the AKORN and Big Red are the same except for the color.

After watching your experience with the pork butt, I changed my mind and kept it.

My first cook on it was also a 7 lb pork butt that I cooked between 235 and 255 for about 9 hours. I had this thing going at 225, but I wanted to eat it for dinner that night so I jacked up the temp a little to speed up the process. This thing was mostly hands-off with only occasional vent tapping to adjust temp. Amazing. My other smoker had me out there every half hour tweaking vents and adding wood/coal (even more so in the winter).

I love this thing. I originally wanted a BGE, but the $1000+ price and fragility of ceramic scared me away.
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#3 Mike The BBQ Guy

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:23 PM

John,

I have to say watching your video reviews is what pushed me to purchase the AKORN. I love it! I made a few minor modifications by adding some high temp RTV sealent around the bottom vent and adjusting the lid latch so it lined up properly. I seasoned the grate on Saturday and on Sunday smoked some chicken thighs and legs as a test run. I was able to get up to 250 degrees with no problems and held it there for about 5 hrs. I smoked the chicken for 1.5 hours and loved how it turned out. I am very excited about cooking a brisket since I will be able to control the temperature so much better than with my Weber kettle. I used your method for indirect by using the weber replacement charcoal grate and a pizza stone that I have had laying around for a few years. I think this will work great with the addition of a water pan for doing the brisket. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks again.
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#4 John Setzler

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:41 PM

John,

I used your method for indirect by using the weber replacement charcoal grate and a pizza stone that I have had laying around for a few years. I think this will work great with the addition of a water pan for doing the brisket. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks again.


I haven't tried a water pan yet, but I'm pretty happy with the $11 charcoal grate 'fix' coupled with a $4 pizza pan down there as a diffuser. I'm not sure what the Char-Griller Smokin' Stone is gonna cost when it becomes available, but I'm pretty sure it will be more than $14!

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#5 lardog

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:44 PM

The price of the "Smokin' Stone" will be $29 plus shipping/handling. I called Chargriller about it already. It won't even be available until the end of March.

I did what John did. I bought the 22.5" Weber Charcoal grate for $11 and purchased a separate 16" ceramic pizza stone. The Weber charcoal grate fits it perfectly, and I can rearrangement my pizza stone as both a diffuser on top on the charcoal grate AND as a pizza stone on top of the cooking grate.

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#6 Ross

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 10:50 AM

I had a similar indirect setup on my Vision grill. I used a store bought ceramic pizza stone, about $15 from Safeway. after about the third or fourth cook with it, it broke right down the middle. I'm thinking the store bought stones just are not thick enough to stand up to the heat from a kamado. Now, I took an old Lodge 13", shallow, cast iron frying pan that I had, cut off the handle on it, and it works great. I don't see it cracking anytime soon...

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#7 tarheelsmoker

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:32 PM

Now, I took an old Lodge 13", shallow, cast iron frying pan that I had, cut off the handle on it, and it works great. I don't see it cracking anytime soon...


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#8 Tennessee Smokey

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 02:37 PM

John,

I have to say watching your video reviews is what pushed me to purchase the AKORN. I love it! I made a few minor modifications by adding some high temp RTV sealent around the bottom vent and adjusting the lid latch so it lined up properly. I seasoned the grate on Saturday and on Sunday smoked some chicken thighs and legs as a test run. I was able to get up to 250 degrees with no problems and held it there for about 5 hrs. I smoked the chicken for 1.5 hours and loved how it turned out. I am very excited about cooking a brisket since I will be able to control the temperature so much better than with my Weber kettle. I used your method for indirect by using the weber replacement charcoal grate and a pizza stone that I have had laying around for a few years. I think this will work great with the addition of a water pan for doing the brisket. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks again.

Mike, I stumbled upon your site this morning while looking around during a break at work. I'm going to try your competition ribs very soon as well as your chicken that your posted about. Sounds delicious.

Anyway, I was like you and I think many others were as well. I saw the Akorn and was considering it heavily but didn't know how it would stack up against the ceramics. Then I saw the vids on youtube and I was hooked. I think John should get a commission from Char-Griller. He probably got more people to pull the trigger on buying an Akorn by being the first to review it and being so in depth with it.

#9 nosbusa

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 03:14 AM

I saw a heavy duty 16' metal pizza pan at Walmart tonight. Would this work well as a difuser instead of stone? It has a lifetime warranty.
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#10 John Setzler

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 09:10 AM

Should work fine :) I use the $4 one from Walmart.

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#11 spenzalii

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 11:50 AM

Gonna sleep on this decision another night, but I'm really REALLY leaning to the Akorn over the WSM at the moment. While I do have a grill and have set it up to smoke (with varying results, as it's far from airtight), the plan was for a smoker this year, as I managed to set my el chepo Brinkman on fire a little while back (don't ask, I"m still pained by it). Right now it's looking like versatility (Akorn) vs. capacity (WSM). But witha family of 4, it's not like I need to cook 10 racks of ribs any time soon. I've got no problem with needing to modify the Akorn a bit during assembly. I can easily grab dome hi temp RTV or even order some nomex gasket if need be. Also now worried about the 'you get what you pay for' naysayers. One of these products is getting my $300, and thanks you you guys, the Akorn is in the lead right now.

And as has been mentioned John, CharGriller needs to cut you a check, as you've probably done more to advertize and champion their cooker than they have! Good job, and thank you

#12 John Setzler

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 12:50 PM

Gonna sleep on this decision another night, but I'm really REALLY leaning to the Akorn over the WSM at the moment.


As an owner of both, I can see your dilemma. I do like the versatility of the Akorn. It can handle anything I wanna put on it whether it be a boston butt, ribs, or brisket, as well as steaks, burgers, or pizza. My WSM, in all honesty, has been sitting idle since I got my UDS built last summer but I plan to do a cook on it pretty soon to include in a new video series I'm working on. The WSM, with a little effort, can be a grill but it's just not set up for that.

I'm waiting to see someone do a gasket replacement on the Akorn. I haven't had any issues with my gaskets yet but I'm also not 100% sure I'm not getting air leaks at those points. If the Nomex gaskets can be used and help make a more air-tight environment at the same time, I'd probably replace mine with them as well.

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#13 MarioSmokeWagon

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 01:42 PM

What do you guys think is a better replacement gasket, the nomex or kamado Joe gaskets?

#14 Woody Strohm

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 02:52 PM

John: After seeing you and Mike, the BBQ Guy, use the Akorn, I'm almost sorry to have spent the extra $400 on a Kamado Joe. My biggest challenge is how to suspend a pizza stone as a heat deflector, but I just set it on the grill grate.

#15 John Setzler

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:04 PM

John: After seeing you and Mike, the BBQ Guy, use the Akorn, I'm almost sorry to have spent the extra $400 on a Kamado Joe. My biggest challenge is how to suspend a pizza stone as a heat deflector, but I just set it on the grill grate.


I wouldn't be sorry! The Kamado Joe stuff is fantastic equipment. I just checked the KJ website and found this:

http://www.kamadojoe...classicjoe.html

You might also find some useful solutions at The Ceramic Grill Store with one of the Woo or Adjustable Rigs they sell...

http://www.ceramicgrillstore.com

http://www.ceramicgr...kamado-joe.html

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